A 100-year-old Clonmel man who started driving back in 1930 at the wheel of his father’s Ford Model-T has gone electric.

A 100-year-old Clonmel man who started driving back in 1930 at the wheel of his father’s Ford Model-T has gone electric.

John Walsh has purchased a Nissan Leaf for himself — the first new car he has ever bought — saying his motivation was to do something to improve the environment and to conserve the supply of fossil fuels.

“The banks are paying no interest, so I decided to spend my money on an EV to do my own little bit to protect the environment,” said John, who is preparing to celebrate his 101st birthday on September 10.

The pioneering pensioner particularly enjoys being able to charge his new Nissan car at home. His father, Richard, who was an electrician by trade, helped him to build his family home in 1949 and he was living there for almost three years before they witnessed the arrival of electricity in rural Clonmel.

“I love the car in so far as I drive it on trips into town and to visit friends. There are a few places that I’d like to visit soon like Dungarvan, Holy Cross or Mount Mellerary Abbey which is quite a special place and somewhere I used to visit quite a bit in earlier years,” said John, who retired from his job as the chief accountant with Bulmers in 1981.

He also revealed that another goal is to make the 250km round trip back to Foynes to visit the place where he grew up and first sat behind the wheel of a car as a teenage driver, and the fact that his new motor can cover the distance on a single charge was also something to note. “I am convinced that we have to do something about global warming and pollution. I am a late convert to environmental protection and a bit of a late starter driving an electric car but this is my way of playing my part. My son also enjoys driving the car on longer distances, but I have priority on it,” he quipped.


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